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Health Ministry rules out AIDS-like disease

THE Ministry of Health said yesterday people with AIDS-like symptoms but tested negative for HIV are not suffering from an unknown infectious disease.

There is no evidence that these people acquired the disease through infection, the ministry said in response to a recent Hong Kong media report that at least six provinces and regions in China reported the AIDS-like disease which may be spreading through saliva and blood.

Similar cases began to appear in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, the same report said and the news caused fear among people.

Ministry spokesman Deng Haihua said the ministry began receiving reports from people who claimed they had acute AIDS-like symptoms and believed they had caught HIV virus or some unknown virus since June 2009.

The China Center for Disease Control and Prevention contacted these people between September 2009 and January 2010 and recruited 59 volunteers for clinical investigation. All their HIV tests are negative. There is no evidence that they were infected by a new virus.

The 59 blood samples were also sent to American laboratories where experts didn't find the HIV virus or other virus either.

The ministry then launched a second investigation in February and March this year in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan and Guangdong, involving 40 patients for epidemiological tests.

Laboratories found these people were healthy in routine blood test and their immune function was normal. Both clinical and lab tests didn't find physical changes due to infection. These people also don't have same symptoms and don't infect each other.

Shanghai medical experts believed it was AIDS phobia that made people nervous after having a dangerous behavior and compared their symptoms to those of AIDS victims.


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